After living a life full of ice skating, singing and acting her way up the ranks to soon leave her home in Auckland for LA, actress Rose McIver has swapped it all for a character much less alive than her own experiences. In iZombie, McIver plays the med student who soon finds herself infected with the zombie virus and, well, dead.
Though those talents McIver developed in her own childhood still sneak through in her onscreen character Liv, just in less than traditional means. In each episode the zombie leading lady finds herself munching on the brains of the dead bodies that pass through the morgue – in an effort to satisfy her cravings and to help solve the mysteries of their deaths. Nonetheless, with each mouthful a new trait of the deceased infects her own character’s personality; with a country music singer just one of the personalities Liv has taken on.
For a show that’s so much about the deceased and eating organs, it’s a good thing McIver doesn’t have a queasy stomach.
“I’m not too squeamish about the bodies themselves, as I’m not looking at real blood and guts,” she says.
“It’s more the stories around [a death] that can be so upsetting. If someone had left a family with young children or if the circumstances under which they’d died could be really upsetting and much more traumatic than the actual seeing or feeling of a dead body.”
From acting in such diverse films and shows as Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, The Lovely Bones, Legend of the Seeker, Power Rangers R.P.M and Xena: The Warrior Princess, in iZombie (which is based off the Vertigo/DC Comic of the same name) McIver has landed her most challenging role yet.
“I really had no idea going into it about how much the character would diversify over the seasons,” McIver says.
“Now having done two seasons and going into our third, it’s the best thing and the hardest thing because it’s very challenging on a tight time frame to come up with different characteristics all the time – but it’s also so stimulating and you could never be bored. That’s part of why you decide to become an actor because you like the variety and I certainly get this in that role.”
A slightly less known aspect of becoming an actress was the environment that came with it, and after deciding to make the jump from her home town in New Zealand to the sunny city of Los Angeles, McIver soon made that realisation in full.
“I love living in the states and I’ve had some great opportunities and it’s home for now, but it’s very important for me to stay in touch with family but also the cultural way of life,” she says.
“It’s just very industry driven in LA and back home a lot of my best friends work as paramedics, a probation officer, a sign language interpreter, and in LA it’s hard to meet people who aren’t all in the same business as you. And I find that the biggest departure from home – not having that variety in my social life.”
As we speak, McIver is currently on one of her trips in Auckland visiting family and friends before heading across to Australia as part of her Oz Comic Con appearances alongside co-star David Anders, Lucy Lawless (of Xena fame), David Giuntoli (Grimm) and more.
“It’s really exciting actually at conventions as you’re able to interact and hear that feedback,” she says.
“Sometimes when you work on television or films you don’t always get to hear what the audience think or share in that experience. Now being able to do that I find it really rewarding. And it’s exciting to know that the amount of time you put into something isn’t for nothing and you’ve got that response – it’s nice to hear that people are liking what you’re doing.”
And fans are certainly loving what McIver and Liv are doing, and there’ll be a lot more interesting characters and personalities for the zombie heroine to absorb in the newest season.
“I’ve got a couple of things up my sleeve still, though as you say I’m going to run out of things soon at one point,” McIver adds with a laugh.
Written by Amanda Sherring
When & Where: Oz Comic Con, Melbourne – June 11-12